For decades, many companies have been using CRM to grow their business. This revolutionary tool helps them in building trustworthy relationships with customers and partners, among other things.
But what does CRM software do? How can a CRM tool shape and improve the sales process to be more efficient and profitable? This role of CRM, along with the benefits of CRM adoption and how to choose the right one, will be discussed in this blog.
What Is CRM?
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a digital, centralized platform that organizes, automates, and synchronizes all of a business’s customer-facing activities. This includes recording customer contacts and conversations, managing leads and team activities, creating performance reports, and more.
Although its main users are the sales team, CRM is typically also used by the marketing and customer support departments. Since all customer-related data is gathered in one place, the team can act quickly and seamlessly to answer inquiries or do cross-selling—turning one-time buyers into loyal customers.
To give a detailed explanation, let’s take a look at the types of data stored in a CRM.
Generally, there are three main classifications of information maintained in a CRM:
- Customer Information
Customer information comprises the demographic details of customers. This includes everything from names, addresses, emails, ages, locations, and even an individual’s likes and interests shared publicly on social media. All of these valuable details can be further used to create tailored customer profiles to increase campaign success.
- Transaction Information
Transaction information covers customers’ sales history, such as past purchases, shopping cart history, cart abandonment rates, and website visits. Transaction information helps you identify how, when, and where customers are going to purchase your products or services, as well as which goods appeal most to them.
- Marketing Campaign Information
A CRM can also track and store your campaign performance. This will help you learn where to deploy online ads and promotions, exactly where they’ll draw the most traffic, nurture the most leads, and ultimately create the most sales.
Now, when we compare businesses that use and don’t use a CRM, a significant difference can be spotted. Businesses that don’t adopt a CRM are likely to store their sales-related data in separate places. When they need to use it, they must manually pick and gather them. This isn’t only prone to errors but also demands a lot of time and effort.
In contrast, CRM software synthesizes this data in one place, maps client or sales trends, and lets you identify fresh ways to apply consumer knowledge for a brighter sales future. Additionally, all the customer details can be harnessed to create and nurture compelling brand messages to keep the target audiences captivated for a long time.
Think of CRM as your company’s own personal research assistant. Only this research assistant is typically:
- Online – housed in the cloud so users can access the data anytime, from anywhere.
- Multifaceted – able to store and categorize various data points, as well as generate reports on numerous topics and data fields for dozens of business applications.
- Shareable and mobile – some CRMs offer not only desktop access but also mobile apps.
- Synchronized for all departments – allowing everyone to access the same data in real time.
What Does a CRM System Do?
As you can see, “relationship” is the keyword in the Customer “Relationship” Management tool. CRM’s ultimate role is to help businesses build better, value-adding relationships with customers using the stored information.
The three main CRM data categories described earlier provide the outline of the roles of CRM systems for a business — the information they streamline, the tasks they simplify, the money they save, and the solutions they illuminate:
1. Customer Information
Customer information makes up the building blocks for unique demographic profiles and personalized interactions with target groups. Businesses with the most quality customer data will have a competitive advantage.
With the help of their CRM data, they know who their target customers are and have an accurate picture of their likes and dislikes. Companies with this kind of clarity can then better connect, positioning their products and services to seamlessly match the prospect’s expectations.
Some customer information stored in CRMs is:
- Basic contact information – e.g., names, emails, and phone numbers
- Ages – to code-shift materials and relay relevant products or services
- Income – if possible
- Geographic region – using geo-tags to maximize campaign reach
- Birthdays – to send special deals and promotions
- Preferred mode of contact – e.g., print, email, and social media outreach
- Consumer interests – to understand what makes someone tick
- Lead sources – e.g., organic or paid search, social media, in-store visits, and events.
2. Transaction Information
Typically captured at a point of purchase, a CRM system automatically keeps track of all sales touchpoints. Organizations can use this data to build more strategic customer segments or profiles, which then serve as the backbone for improved sales funnels and overall marketing plans.
Transaction information includes:
- Products or services purchased
- Date and time of purchase(s)
- Coupons, promotions, or discounts used during the purchase(s)
- Value of the purchase(s)
- Payment methods
- Overall sales or service trends
- Lifetime value of the customer
3. Marketing Campaign Information
CRM software also allows organizations to craft their most compelling digital marketing campaigns within the system. This way, they can create an optimal customer experience that is backed by real data.
Through the customer and transaction data, CRM software can reveal consumer patterns and winning sales strategies, including the following:
- Website traffic (organic and paid)
- Page visits and bounce rates
- Social media engagement (ikes, shares, comments, and ad clicks)
- Email open and conversion rates
- Customer rankings and reviews
9 Benefits of Using CRM Software
This means salespeople need to do their homework before a meeting, namely finding the prospect’s pain points, knowing which features of their products/services are effective in solving their problems, and anticipating any issues that may arise during the negotiations. But how can they access this information? When used properly, sales reps can find these details on their CRM.
That said, CRM is more than just data storage. It fosters close collaborations between teams and partners, simplifies sales processes, and increases revenues, among other benefits.
Here are some major advantages of CRM adoption.
1. Brings You Big Data — With a Fraction of the Work
Gone are the days of dozens of data-dense spreadsheets sprinkled across departments and managed by siloed stakeholders. CRM software creates a single, central repository of insights—enabling everyone to access a single source of truth at their fingertips.
2. Simplifies Lead Nurturing
Managing lead funnels is one of the primary functions of your marketing operations — but also a time-consuming one. CRM helps you sort the most promising leads from those requiring additional pre-sale touchpoints, driving more tactical lead volumes with less oversight and resources.
Then, sales reps can prioritize their efforts accordingly. CRM lends keener visibility into a customer’s place in the overall sales funnel, allowing you to interact with all consumer or client profiles appropriately.
3. Initiates Better Sales Forecasting
CRM takes sales benchmarks from abstract goals to actionable quotas. The data fields allow you to track sales patterns and sales team performances, maximizing tasks and processes that are working and tinkering with those that aren’t.
This way, sales and marketing efforts become grounded in data-based predictions, giving you a better chance of accurately navigating tomorrow’s sales landscapes without misallocating resources.
4. Boosts Customer Service Offerings
CRM software lets you learn the communication preferences of your customers. When people interact with your business using a medium they’re comfortable with, they’re more likely to view your brand positively.
Companies today employ more customer service support channels than ever, in large part thanks to the research gleaned directly from their customer and transaction information metrics:
- Online help “desks” – rather than the traditional voice consultations
- Real-time chat services – in the form of pop-up chat boxes
- Texting support – particularly popular with Gen Y and Millennials
- Social media conversations – where clients can direct message your company’s profile just as they would a friend
5. Automates Data Entry and Report Generation
A key benefit behind CRM software is its custom inputs. You program the data you want the software to keep track of, plus where those information workflows go—and the CRM will take care of the rest.
Your sales teams are freed from yesterday’s manual data entry to focus on the value-adding, higher-level work they were hired to do. Moreover, CRM software also promotes clean data on the system by decreasing manual entry errors, reducing data duplication and inconsistencies, and “cleaning” outdated data files periodically.
6. Closes More Deals
CRM will pay back $30.48 (or more) for every dollar spent by businesses (2023). That is a 30x of investment payback!
CRM’s higher ROIs come down to its lead nurturing revitalization. The system identifies previously lost or overlooked opportunities and directs the right series of actions to nurture the prospects.
7. Increases Cross-Selling and Up-Sell Opportunities
CRMs give 360-degree visibility into the likes, dislikes, and preferences of your ideal clients. You see what emails they’re opening, what ads they’re clicking, what pages they’re visiting, for how long, and from where. Leverage these insights into cross-selling and up-sell opportunities, artfully remaining top-of-mind in your target’s busy day.
8. Accomplishes More Business Objectives
Whatever your enterprise goals are for the quarter and the year, customer relationship management will help you accomplish them.
While CRM systems most directly influence sales and marketing practices, they cause ripple effects in nearly every department:
- Customer support reps – can communicate with clients quicker and easier, solving more problems and solidifying a positive customer experience associated with your brand.
- Human resource departments – can track employee sales performance and generate objective performance indicators.
- IT – has to monitor fewer systems and software across enterprise networks.
- Finance and accounting – hold one-stop access to revenue projections and reports, deal forecasts, sales leads, and consumer or vendor purchase history, making their revenue reporting simpler.
9. Drives Revenue
Businesses traditionally have two ways to increase profits: increase product/service sales and decrease expenses and overhead costs.
CRM software unlocks solutions for both these tactics. It improves lead management, sales pipeline, and funnel nurturing, which directly increases sales revenue. Likewise, businesses have fewer expenses for software adoption, employee training, and more automated tasks and workflows—saving everyone time and money. The result? Boosted profits and greener bottom lines!
Who Can Use a CRM System?
Regardless of your industry, size, and business type (B2B or B2C), CRM is for any business with customers. Whoever your customers are, if you’re selling something to someone, you need a CRM system.
The following are a few practical applications of CRM in various industries:
1. Industrial Sector
Companies in the industrial sector (e.g., manufacturing and transportation and logistics) balance a unique set of vendor workflows, customer interactions, and supply chain management. Using a CRM, salespeople can better track turnover, target quotas, and view sales trajectories.
Successful construction operations manage multiple worksites right alongside bidding for tomorrow’s contracts. A CRM for construction companies simplifies many bid procurement, marketing, and contract task-management activities so site managers can focus on what they should: completing a safe, compliant, on-time, and on-budget project.
Mobile CRM is particularly helpful in the construction industry. Generate easy-to-read bids and marketing pipeline reports on smartphones, manage contract documents, and be notified about prospect bids and sales updates through real-time alerts—all without stepping away from the work zone.
CRM for contractors simplifies many of the demands faced by these specialty site technicians. From flooring and landscapers to fencing contractors, they can save hours of back-office sales and administrative work when using the right CRM system.
CRM software notifies contractors of project and task management status alerts at their fingertips. They can easily track progress reports across all worksites, send updates to clients remotely, track which bid types are their most successful, and gain insights into why.
4. SMBs and Large Corporations
Small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) manage many of the same sales and marketing activities as their larger counterparts, yet often with fewer disposable resources. A CRM system does the work of a multi-tiered, established marketing department at a fraction of the cost without sacrificing capabilities, reports, and insights.
Large corporations (with more than 500 employees) look to CRM software for different reasons. Streamlining their procurement, sales, and marketing data into one source provides a solution to the often complex and duplicative siloed funnels. With a CRM, work is now streamlined, information is synthesized, and teams can collaborate without lags.
Seeing the vast capabilities and benefits of CRM, CRM is for everyone. It helps any business of any size in any sector wishing to build stronger, more meaningful—and therefore profitable—relationships with clients.
The Importance of Choosing a CRM for Your Business
Recognizing the importance of customer relationship management is one thing. Acting on that knowledge and picking the right CRM software for your operations is another. How do you know you’re getting a system that’ll streamline your sales process in needed areas, will be easy to adopt, and won’t require complex employee training or extensive process overhaul?
Any business or enterprise interested in CRM software must first ask themselves the following:
- What part of the sales pipeline do we want to improve?
You might be looking for greater sales-stage definition and visibility or organic traffic growth. Maybe you want to automate data inputs and reports or improve revenue-generating activities. Understand what your business’ sales growth areas are, and you’ll narrow your system selection to vet only software primed to deliver.
- What are your growth objectives?
Businesses need a CRM that can grow with them, not cause them growing pains. Vet CRM software that can support your dream scenario of clients, projects, or accounts, saving time, money, and headaches down the road when that dream number becomes a reality.
- Who will be using the CRM system?
CRM software must be easy to use and readily adoptable across departments. Regardless of the technical understanding demanded by a department or role, CRM software does no good if it’s too complicated to navigate.
We recommend to look for CRM software with the following features:
- Scalability – select a CRM process that can grow with your business over the years. After all, CRM should be increasing your customer base and your revenue, driving that growth. Why select one that can only help you to a certain point?
- User-friendly – clean interface design, intuitive features, and simple navigation are the backbones of today’s best CRM systems. A user-friendly CRM system is the surest guarantee your team will adopt it and you’ll see returns on your investment.
- Actionable reporting – big data is great—but big data that’s actionable is better. Pick CRM software with an actionable report generation feature that doesn’t merely throw raw data points at you but relays specific patterns and insights, which your business can translate into action.
- Free demo – trying a CRM system before buying assures you’re receiving a piece of software your teams will benefit from, one that solves key pipeline pain points and streamlines end-to-end sales tasks.
Pipeline CRM Simplifies Customer Relationship Management
Pipeline CRM gives you everything you need to accelerate sales and deliver seamless customer experiences to new and existing customers. It syncs with your existing tool stack, so you can manage your end-to-end customer relationship pipeline in a central place.
If your business is in need of a customizable CRM solution for its sales pipeline, lead, contact, and sales operations management, give us a shout. Our team will be happy to offer you a demo to take your CRM processes to the next level.